The US aircraft manufacturer is no longer expecting the 777X to make its maiden flight in 2019, which means there is a real threat that deliveries will not start until 2021.
The ongoing grounding of the 737 Max not only brings Boeing a record loss but it also severely damaged the image of the US aircraft manufacturer. It would, therefore, be a very important step for the manufacturer not only to quickly get the green light for its Max but also to launch the new 777X on time. «While the company is still targeting late 2020 for first delivery of the 777X, there is significant risk to this schedule given engine challenges, which are delaying first flight until early 2020.» writes Boeing. These are two pieces of news in one sentence.
Maiden flight planned for late 2019
On one hand, Boeing is hoping for first deliveries by the end of 2020 – in the best case scenario – after Emirates and Lufthansa had previously planned for the summer of 2020. On the other hand, the company admits that the first flight will no longer take place this year. Boeing CEO Dennis Muilenburg commented in a telephone conference that he was disappointed about the delays, which were caused solely by engine problems, while the ground tests were running on schedule.
At the Le Bourget air show in June, Boeing’s head of the passenger aircraft division, Kevin McAllister, explained that as a result of new engine problems, the first flight had been planned to take place later in 2019. At the show, David Joyce, head of the engine manufacturer GE Aviation, also stated that despite new difficulties he was expecting the maiden flight to take place in 2019. GE Aviation is developing the massive GE9X engine, which will power the Boeing 777X. However, the company must first resolve a problem: A component on the front of the engine’s compressor wears out sooner than expected.
Lufthansa also has to wait
Due to the delay, Lufthansa will also have to wait longer. The German airline has ordered 20 jets of the larger variant 777-9 from Boeing. Just recently, Lufthansa wrote in a press release that it would be one of the first airlines worldwide to «receive their first Boeing 777-9 in summer 2020.»
This is now no longer the case.In response to the question from aeroTELEGRAPH on how Lufthansa is dealing with the delay, a spokesperson merely commented: «As Boeing announced today, the delivery of the first 777X is planned for the end of 2020. We are constantly in touch with Boeing and are of course adapting to this new situation.» They are excited to receive their first jet.